Lawyers get off the hook

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By Itumeleng Koleile

Three lawyers who were facing seven-day detention for contempt of court were on Tuesday let off the hook after apologizing to Justice Charles Hungwe.

The trio—King’s Counsel Karabo Mohau, advocate Napo Mafaesa, and advocate Tuke— were on November 17 ordered by Hungwe to “show cause why they should not be committed to prison for a period of seven days for contempt of court arising from failure to appear in court to represent their clients”.

The lawyers were said to be in contempt of court after failing to inform the court about their absenteeism.

The trio was supposed to appear before Hungwe and represent former Lesotho Defence Force Commander, Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli and his co-accused soldiers in what was to be the beginning of a sensational trial on how the homes of former Lesotho Mounted Police Service Commissioner Khothatso Tsooana and that of Lesotho’s former Prime Minister’s concubine come first lady Maesiah Thabane nee Liabiloe Ramoholi was bombed on January 27, 2014.

The bombs used near Maesiah home also hit her then neighbor Mamoletsane Moletsane’s roofing and shuttered a glass sliding door.

But since being detained without their trial starting for three years, the lawyers representing the accused soldiers have staged a protest and withdrawn their services in demand for allegedly unjust conditions the soldiers are detained under be changed.

The lawyers have also said they are withdrawing their services in order not to legitimize a miscarriage of justice.

But, before court, Hungwe told the lawyers when appearing before him that their supporting affidavits fail to justify their failure to show before court and represent the accused soldier.

However, Hungwe discharged the show-cause orders for the lawyers to be detained for seven days after they apologised.

Not only did the Judge let the trio off the hook, but he also made it clear that on the following court appearances, they ought to be present or have a representative if they are double booked.

“On the next court date, lawyers who will be booked for the day should make prior arrangements for legal representatives who will stand in for them on that particular day,” the judge said.

The lawyers are representing Kamoli, Litekanyo Nyakane, Pitso Ramoepana, Mohlalefi Seitlheko and Heqoa Malefane who are suspects on charges of malicious damage to property and bombing three homes of Tsooana, Maesiah and Moletsane.

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